Why did 28,000 rivers in China suddenly disappear?
Startling government survey sheds new light on Chinese water crisis
By Amar Toor on April 3, 2013 09:09 am

For years, China claimed to hold an estimated 50,000 rivers within its borders. Now, more than half of them have abruptly vanished.

Last week, China’s Ministry of Water Resources announced the results of a three-year survey of the country’s waterways, revealing startling declines in water supply. According to the census, there were 22,909 rivers in China as of 2011, each covering an area of at least 100 square kilometers. That marks a decrease of about 28,000 from the government’s previous estimates, raising fears among environmentalists and putting Beijing on the defensive.

China’s longest rivers, the Yangtze and the Yellow, have each seen declining water levels in recent years, but the government’s survey — its most comprehensive to date — may shed new light on the breadth and gravity of the country’s crisis.

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